July 2003


President's corner

In Memorium

Next meeting

Last meeting

This 'n That

BAWA contacts



Last Meeting

The meeting was held at the lumber mill of P.A.L. Foundation, owned and operated by Marcus von Skepsgardh. This is a mill in Oakland that recycles urban and suburban trees and turns them into usable boards. Marcus has owned the mill for four years as a non profit and is now at the point of being self sustaining. His plan is to carry his idea nationwide. Marcus solicits trees from arborists, city parks, etc. He retrieves the trees with a special truck with a 15 ft. long boom that can pick up cut trees and haul them back to the mill. Usually this process requires two vehicles. As the trees come into the yard they are sorted and often dried and milled. Some are sold as logs because they are unmillable with the machines at hand. He explained how a Clinton Act which stated that landfill should be reduced by 50% has given impetus to his operation. P.A.L. has diverted 6.5 tons of lumber away from landfills since its inception. We were shown stacks of redwood, cypress, pine, eucalytus, and acacia among others. Marcus showed us a piece of quarter sawn eucalyptus which had been specially milled by Lopensky Co. into high end flooring. He sells it for $4.00 a square foot. He explained that with only two full time people in the yard, he and the mill operator, they aren't yet set up to sell a small hand full of boards to a woodworker but that if we organize our purchases into larger requests he would be happy to serve us. He is in the process of working with East Bay Conservation Corp to hire kids to help work the yard. He will then serve as a consultant with the Conservation group taking over the operation. We were shown an enormous whale carved out of a single redwood log together with an adjoining tortoise which grace the entrance of the yard. We also saw large totem poles carved from large logs. Next we were shown the various saws used to mill the logs. The circular mill has two circular blades one horizontal, the other vertical that can handle trees up to 9 ft. in diameter. It produces boards up to 12 inches wide. The band mill has a 26 inch capacity and works well for beams. He also has an Alaska chainsaw mill with a 5ft. blade that works well in cutting slabs. Cuts are made to full size dimensions. Most lumber is sold for $3-4 per board ft. Cyprus and cedar $2.50-3.50, acacia and eucalyptus $4-6, pine, popular, tulip poplar $1.50-2, burled and curly specimens $6.00.

The meeting then moved to a nearby Mexican restaurant for dinner and business. Mark reported on the Big Tree project in Walnut Creek and also that Brian Herrington at Flamingo was selling out his veneer. Peter added that a furniture maker in Marin, Craig Collins, has donated his veneer remnants to BAWA and that they will be auctioned off to members in later meetings. Harold showed one of the child benches built at a recent toy making workshop to be donated to the preschool at the church that gave us the "holy oak." He announced the next toy workshop will be held at Per Madsen's shop on June 21st to make block sets and storage boxes. Tony reported that the principal of Malcolm X Elementary liked our work so much they would like us to build more for them. Jay reviewed the agenda for the next set of meetings. Craig announced that 1/3 of the surveys have come in and that the rest should be sent by June 25. Allen reported that he has a truck load of sequoia wood he would like to sell and donate 1/2 the proceeds to the club.